Get your curbside art fix at Chain Link Gallery
A new and unusual exhibition space has appeared at Roxbury Community College, on a chain-link fence along Columbus Avenue. Created by RCC and MassArt’s sparc! the ArtMobile program run by Ekua Holmes, the curbside exhibition space is displaying “Stream of Consciousness,” by local artist Larry Pierce, as long as weather allows. Project RIGHT, Inc. and the Department of Conservation and Recreation at Melnea Cass also partnered on the project.
Pierce works in an abstract style. He describes his process as similar to the Beat poets of the 1950s, working with paint, rather than words, in a stream-of-consciousness flow. “Stream of Consciousness” features a poem that Pierce wrote for the exhibition alongside printed reproductions of his paintings. The artist was also involved in another of the sparc! programs prior to the pandemic, Paint Night at the Grove Hall Community Center. He says he was blown away by the neighborhood excitement about the program, recalling that it was standing-room-only to make art in the communal space.
“There’s a thirst for art that doesn’t get answered very well in our community right now,” says Pierce. “People are trying to get back to normal, and I encourage that, but I also want to be safe. This chain-link gallery format keeps you socially distanced.” The show is completely outdoors and can be viewed by anyone in a safe, distanced way. Public art is crucial during the pandemic because of the ability to view it under these safe conditions. Though museums have begun to open back up, they are indoor spaces, and limited capacity and ticketing can make their exhibitions more challenging to access.
The Chain Link Gallery also brings art into an unexpected space. The exhibition sits between an RCC Parking Lot and the bustling traffic on Columbus Avenue. MBTA riders waiting at the bus stop next to the show can view the art, as can bikers across the way on the Southwest Corridor bike path. It’s a reminder that art can and should be found everywhere, accessible to everyone. The Chain Link Gallery will feature a rotating series of artists going forward.
Pierce says, “As a Black man, I look into and around my community to capture its beauty. Successful art can sometimes be transformative, and even dangerous, but for me art is a record of and testimony to every aspect of the human condition.” And truly, the Roxbury community hums and pulses around this exhibition and within the artwork itself.